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Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Nigel Waterson has launched a Bill aimed at increasing the number of care homes and sheltered housing which allow pets to live with their owners. His Private Member’s Bill received its First Reading in the House of Commons today.

Nigel has long supported moves to encourage care homes and sheltered accommodation to be more flexible with their pets’ policy. At the moment a staggering 38,000 healthy animals are put down every year, as too few homes allow older people to bring their pets with them when they move in. Another 100,000 have to be given up for adoption, with many being very distressed by their abandonment and having to be put down as well.

Nigel commented “This is totally unacceptable in a civilised country. Many other countries, such as France or the USA, have laws aimed at allowing people to keep their beloved pets. Enlightened councils in the UK, such as Wandsworth, have shown how positive policies can easily be brought in and have great benefits.”

“Moving to a care home or sheltered housing is a big upheaval and is stressful at the best of times. It is only fair we try to stop a practice that just adds needless trauma to the process. As Shadow Minister for Older People I am always looking at how we can restore dignity and security for older people. A nationwide policy on pets in homes would help lift a burden from many older people considering their future.”

“Additionally, pets are an important source of physical, emotional and social support. They have proven health benefits for older people and can improve cardiovascular and mental health. They are also a great antidote to loneliness, which can afflict so many older people.”

16 December 2009